The third largest island in Europe, Ireland is divided into two main regions – Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Republic of Ireland covers five-sixths of the land while Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and the second largest in the British Isles. The population of the island is just north of 6.6 million and has the second highest population among all islands in Europe.
The land is surrounded by low rising mountains which ring a plain. There are a number of rivers in the region which are easily navigable. There was a time till the middle ages when Ireland was completely covered with forests and woodland. Today only 11% of the country is covered with woods and forests. The country has a moderate climate and it is generally classified as oceanic. The winters are usually mild in the region and summers are far cooler than continental Europe. There is regular rain and cloud cover in the region, which explains the country’s thickly forested regions and unique flora and fauna.
Ireland has a rich heritage and culture, in fact, human presence has been recorded in the region as far back as 10,500 BC. The country has a long history of invasions and internecine warfare, through all of which, the sheer beauty and resilience of its people comes through brightly. The country is also home to world heritage sights and a wonderful landscapes. The island has lush vegetation thanks to its unique weather and a number of species that are unique to this region. The country’s fresh water sources are considered to be some of the most beautiful ecosystems in the world.
The country has a total of 32 counties, the system of these counties was established in the 13th. The country has two main languages, Irish and English. 26 of these counties are in the Republic while the other 6 are in Northern Ireland. The country has developed some amazing agricultural methods and most of the land in Ireland is pastoral. Ireland has also had a major influence on the world in terms of its contribution to art, literature and music. The country has, so far, produced four Nobel laureates in literature. Irish writers like James Joyce, despite never having won a Nobel Prize, have been celebrated around the world and their works are still considered landmarks in the literary history.
Ireland also has a long standing history of contributing to science. The temperature unit, Kelvin, was named after the Irish Lord Kelvin, also known as William Thomson. The term electron was introduced in 1891 by George Johnstone Stoney. The Irish have made massive contributions in the world’s understanding of electricity, thermodynamics, mathematics, physics and many other fields of science.
Irish cuisine has always been simple. White meat, potatoes, milk, fresh vegetables, fish and breads are some of the staple items of the country. In fact, potatoes are so much of a staple in Ireland that the Irish are the highest per capita consumers of potatoes in England. Ireland is also a premier producer of whiskeys, despite being outshone by its neighbouring Scotland.
The country practices parliamentary democracy which ensures that foreigners have a lifestyle that can be best described as elevated. Cities like Dublin, Galway, Cork are some of foremost student destinations in the country. The government of Ireland spends hundreds of millions every year in the country’s higher education institutions. Irish universities are some of the best in the world when it comes to research. So much so that some of the biggest companies in the world have established their research facilities in this country. Students from over 150 countries make Ireland their education destination making the country’s education system a melting pot of cultures from around the world.
Ireland has a very young population. More than 40% of the population is under 25, and this while also boasting of one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. The country also has the highest quality of life credentials in the world and ranks right at the top in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Quality-of-Life index. Lonely Planet has also declared Ireland as being the friendliest country in the world. Moreover, the Irish education system has been ranked among the top 20 in the world by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. The education system has a symbiotic relationship with the industry of the country and is characterized by creativity, flexibility and practicality.
Ireland, unlike many other countries, accepts students with 12+3 years of education for post-graduation degrees. The country has a long standing history of tradition and learning, this is exactly what has led to the rapid click of growth of the company economy. The country is home to over 2 lakh international students. Most master’s degrees in Ireland last only for a year, which can be a great saving in terms of time and money. MBA degrees in Ireland do not require you to have work experience.
Ireland has a number of highly reputed universities offering over 5000 courses cumulatively. These courses range from medicine, engineering, business, marketing, languages, literature, history, science, technology, etc. Being a primarily English speaking country there is very little chance of there being a language barrier for international students. The Global Peace Index has also ranked Ireland as the 12th most peaceful country in the world. The country’s tremendous beauty and the hospitality of the citizens is also one of the main reasons for students to choose Ireland as their study destination.
Many MNCs from across the world have made Ireland their base. The country is the second most attractive country for FDI after Singapore. Many companies like Facebook, Genzyme, Apple, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pfizer, and GSK among many others have made Ireland the base of their European operations. The country has also established itself as one of the foremost research destinations in the world and is a leader in a variety of R&D subjects. The government gives special care to invest in research to make sure that Ireland stands head and shoulders above other companies in this field.
The Irish education system has three basic sections – Primary, second level, and higher education. These courses are designed to offer students a wide range of opportunities. The primary education makes sure that the children are given enough focus so as to grow and hone their particular skillsets. The second level comprises of secondary education including vocational courses, community courses and comprehensive courses. The higher education system in Ireland has a wide scope and is divided in a variety of institutions. There are universities, technology institutes as well as privately funded colleges. There are a total of 7 universities in Ireland and 14 technology institutes. The country also has a number of different programmes like diploma, certificate and degree in a variety of courses like business, linguistics, marketing, language, literature and science among a variety of other courses. Ireland is also known as the land of poets thanks to its rich history in producing some of the most celebrated authors and poets in the world.
The higher education system in Ireland is unlike any other, both in terms of its scope and in terms of its affordability for international students. The system of cooperative education places students in an employment relevant to their degree programmes for six to eight months of their undergraduate studies. Many institutions have inculcated this as an integral part of their curriculum. While Irish institutions are largely autonomous they are also liberally funded by the government.
There are a variety of courses available in third level, or higher education, these are:
- One Year Certification (one year course)
- National Certificate (two year course)
- National Diploma (one year national certificate)
- Bachelor’s Degree (three to four years)
- Graduate Diploma (usually a year)
- Master’s Degree (research or a one to two year taught programme)
- Doctorate (a minimum of three years of PhD)
The teaching methods employed are usually lectures which are supplemented by tutorials. Most students have to learn through self-initiated means. There are also abundant practical demonstrations and lab sessions. Most universities have international student office with highly trained officials who are equipped with any issues arising for international students. International student offices also help students get used to life in Ireland and various college procedures.
The main intake for universities and colleges in Ireland is September. There are also a few institutions that offer a February intake. Applications usually need to be made to specific universities and there are a few documents are required to be submitted, however, some colleges may have specific requirements too. The academic year runs from September to June and is separated in three semesters. There are holidays in December as well as April for Christmas and Easter, respectively. The universities usually follow a modularization system that allows students higher freedom.
Since English is the primary language of instruction in all Irish education institutions of higher education, any student applying at a university or college in Ireland should show proficiency in English. The minimum TOEFL score accepted is 90, try and score around 6.5 to 7 bands or more on your IELTS for a successful application. There are also courses and programmes that can help student brush up and get better at the English language. There are over 110 English language training schools in Ireland that run long and short term courses. A lot of students who take English language tuition usually also finish the Leaving Certificate Examination which then qualifies students to take admission in any bachelor or certificate diplomas.
A student can also complete public examination in his or her own country. The important part here is that every student must check and be sure that the education qualifications that they are submitting are enough for the entry requirements. Each course has different benchmarks in terms of what they expect from prospective students. Medicine courses, for instance, need students to have high A level grades in all the subjects concerned. Minimum requirements for any course is 3 Cs at A level or grades equal to that. Students may be required to apply directly to the institution or at the Central Applications Office for Undergraduate Programmes.
Students will need to ensure that they have attested copies of all their school certificates like tenth, twelfth and school leaving certificate. Academic reference letters from the student’s most recent teachers are also required, two would suffice. Work experience letter and reference letter from a recent employer will also be important. This letter ensures that your skills and abilities are validated by a professional in the same field. A strong statement of purpose will be crucial in ensuring a successful application. Make sure you also submit a thoroughly updated CV in the format Irish authorities are most used to. If you are applying for an arts and/or design course you will also need to submit a portfolio. If you have a history of extra-curricular activities you need to submit about 4 certificates for the same.
Studying in Ireland is far more affordable than, say, London or many other European countries. The tuition fees usually vary widely depending upon your university and course. Accommodation and living expenses too are dependent largely upon where you are located and the way you maintain your lifestyle.
Average course fees for undergraduate courses in Ireland are as below:
- Medicine and related courses – 45,000 to 54,000 euros
- Engineering – 9950 to 23,500 euros
- Science and Technology – 9750 to 22,000 euros
- Arts and Humanities – 9750 to 20,000 euros
- Business – 9750 to 18,000 euros
These fees are variable and, we at Rao Consultants, ensure that we get the final and fixed figure of fees for you from all your chosen colleges and courses. It is important to note that fees for non-EU students are different than fees for EU residents. Postgraduate tuition fees can range as mentioned below:
- Medicine and related courses – 4000 to 31,000 euros
- Engineering – 9250 to 24,000 euros
- Science and Technology – 9250 to 45,000 euros
- Arts and Humanities – 9250 to 22,000 euros
- Business – 9250 to 34,500 euros
Hundreds of scholarships are available for international students from sources ranging from the government of Ireland to Irish higher education institutions and many other organisations. These scholarships are given solely on the discretion of these organisations and have their own particular eligibility criterion.
International students will have to spend around 600 to 900 euros every month on living costs. Accommodation costs in Ireland are slightly lower than that of the European average. Students usually spend around 38% of their total monthly budget on accommodation expenses. Residence halls at universities are slightly more expensive than the European average and can cost between 200 to 300 euros. A student living alone in Ireland may have to spend a little more than 400 euros on rent. Utility bills in Ireland can be around 150 euros while the internet can cost up to 50 euros a month. Monthly food costs can go up to 250 euros a month but you can cut them significantly by shopping for groceries at supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, Superquinn etc. An average meal for two in a restaurant can cost up to 55 euros. Students in Ireland usually prefer public transport, they get a monthly pass for 50-55 euros. Almost 38% of students prefer to use bicycles to commute, a bicycle can be rented for 20 euros per day.
You need to apply for a study visa to Ireland provided you are enrolled in a course that lasts for more than three months. If your course is less than three months you need a C-type study visa, if it is going to last longer you need to apply for a D-type study visa. You also need to apply for the visa about three months before you need to travel to Ireland. At Rao Consultants, we make your student visa process smoother than ever. Here are some important things that you need to keep in mind when applying for a student visa to Ireland.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the completion of your education in Ireland. If have any previous passport a copy of the same should also be submitted along with your application.
You need to provide an evidence of the course you are going to be enrolled in. The acceptance letter of the university or college should suffice for the same. The course should have a minimum of 15 hours of daytime study for each week, and the course should be specified in the acceptance letter you receive. The letter should also contain the fees of the course and the amount paid by the student to the college. If the college has issued a health insurance in the name of the student the same should also be mentioned in the letter.
To successfully apply for a visa you also need to show that you have enough academic credentials to pursue the course you have chosen. Exam results, qualifications obtained and certificates will prove this in your favour.
If any of you documents are not in English a valid translation for the same must be provided.
You will also need to account for any gaps in your educational history, if you have filled these gaps with employment evidence of the same needs to be presented.
You must also disclose that you have sufficient funds to survive in Ireland without depending on public funds.
Student visas to Ireland usually are issued quite promptly and the authorities are extremely punctual about the timeliness they have advised the applicants. Making sure that your visa application has no glaring errors and gaps is crucial to making sure that your application goes through smoothly and without any trouble.
Ireland, as mentioned before, is not only a very developed economy they are also a force to reckon with in several up and coming fields. The country has a robust industry in software development, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and international services. The company is home to the European base of a number MNCs and is the second most popular FDI destination after Singapore. In fact, Google’s largest operation outside the US is in Dublin, Ireland, employing people from over 40 nationalities.
The country has a largely export centred economy and its main industries for the same are software, mining, hospitality, tourism, telecom and construction. The country also has strong biotech and pharmaceutical industries. There are over 32 manufacturing plants in the country making 6 out of 10 of the world’s best-selling drugs.
Students in Ireland can work part time for about 20 hours every week and can work fulltime during their vacations. These jobs allow students to have enough money not only to survive but also offset some of their education costs. There are also sandwich courses that combine study and work and allow students to learn while they earn. International students graduating from Irish colleges are given a one year job search visa along with the tenure of their bachelor’s or master’s programmes.
What qualifications do I require to study in Ireland?
If you want to apply to a university in Ireland you need to have completed, at a minimum, 10+2. The minimum requirements for most degree level applications are 3 Grade Cs at A level or equivalent. Considering that English is the language of instruction across Ireland, a high level of English proficiency is required. A TOEFL score of 550 is generally the minimum accepted score.
How can I finance my studies in Ireland?
An international education can be a great boost for your career and open up a host of different options for you around the world. There are a number of ways that you can finance your education in Ireland. The easiest ways are family funds, bank loans, scholarships, etc.
Bank Loans – Most nationalized banks offer student loans at highly competitive rates for a considerably long spans of times. These enable a large population of students to go and study abroad. These banks usually ask for collateral security. There is also a possibility for an international bank loan, Rao Consultants will advise you on the best course of action for you to get a loan.
Sponsorships – Having a blood relative is preferred but there can be other sponsors who can help you fund your education in Ireland provided they have an explanation of why they are doing so.
What is the relevance of GNIB to my education in Ireland?
GNIB is the Garda National Immigration Bureau. All non-Irish and non-EU/EEA students who come to Ireland need to register with GNIB after their arrival and registration at your institution. The GNIB issues you your residence permit, also known as the GNIB card.
Do I need medical insurance?
International students do not have any coverage for the medical attention they receive off campus. For this reason every international student is required to have their own private insurance. Medical expenses can be quite high and it is advisable for students to have adequate medical insurance. International students need to show proof of comprehensive medical insurance when they register at the GNIB. Health insurance is also required when you are applying for the student visa.
Can I stay in Ireland after I complete my studies to look for employment?
The Third Level Graduate Programme makes it possible for students to stay back in Ireland after their graduation and seek employment. This programme allows legally resident Irish educated non-EEA graduates holding a degree from a recognized Irish institution to remain in Ireland after their studies. This can be for seeking graduate level employment and applying for a general employment permit, a critical skills employment permit or research hosting agreement.